As Marlene Lewis of the Conant dealer group accepted a leadership award here yesterday morning, she admitted that her career often came before her family.
So when Lewis thanked her husband, Doug, for all his support, she started crying.
And some of the audience joined her.
"A lot of times my family was not on my list of priorities because I hold the automotive industry very true to my heart," she said at a breakfast sponsored by Women's Automotive Association International.
Lewis, executive vice president of Conant Automotive Resource Group, started in the automotive business more than 30 years ago as a receptionist and file clerk.
She wasn't always so fond of the industry. "For many years, I was embarrassed to talk about the automotive industry and to say where I worked," Lewis said in her acceptance speech at the Ritz-Carlton.
Other 2003 Spirit of Leadership award recipients were Elena Ford, who heads Ford Motor Co.'s business strategy for international automotive operations, and Susan Cantor, executive vice president of Lowe Worldwide, which handles GMC's advertising.